Only seven games are left in the regular season for the New York Rangers. They take on the Detroit Red Wings at Madison Square Garden in a matinee, a game that is not a “must win” but would be very helpful for the Blueshirts in several ways.
Despite the loss to Carolina on Tuesday, the Rangers remain only two points behind them following their win against the Flyers and Carolina’s loss to the Red Wings on Thursday. First place is not likely, but they are still in the hunt.
Meanwhile, the Penguins beat the Islanders and are five points behind the Rangers though New York has a game in hand. The Rangers magic number to clinch second place is seven since the Rangers look to own the tiebreaker. Any combination of seven points gained by New York or lost by Pittsburgh and it’s over.
The Rangers should not take Detroit lightly. They have played twice this season and both games went to overtime with Detroit winning the first game in a shootout and the Rangers winning the second on a goal by Andrew Copp in overtime.
Not only that, but the Red Wings did this week what the Rangers couldn’t, beating the Hurricanes 3-0 on the road. Detroit goalie Alex Nedeljkovic made 43 saves in the win.
Coach Gerard Gallant had words of warning. “We played Detroit twice this year, both games went to overtime. They battle, they play hard. They’ve got some good young talent. They’re another team out of the playoff picture, but they’re gonna fight for their lives and they’re gonna work hard. We’ve got to worry about our game, get up for it and play hard and get two points.”
Barclay Goodrow pointed to their win over Carolina. “Any team can win on any night. If you start taking teams for granted or count points before you earn them, it comes back to bite you. You have to go into each game with the same mentality…..come in with a good mindset and be prepared to work. ”
Let’s see if they take their own advice.
No word on the starting goalie and it could be either Shesterkin or Georgiev. Meanwhile, Alexis Lafrenière is definitely back in the lineup, but the question is which line he will play on (probably the fourth line).
NEW YORK RANGERS
20 Kreider – 93 Zibanejad – 77 Vatrano
23 Panarin – 16 Strome -18 Copp
21 Goodrow – 72 Chytil – 24 Kakko
13 Lafreniere – 17 Rooney – 75 Reaves
55 Lindgren – 23 Fox
79 Miller – 8 Trouba
61 Braun – 45 Schneider
DETROIT RED WINGS
27 Michael Rasmussen – 71 Dylan Larkin – 23 Lucas Raymond
59 Tyler Bertuzzi – 90 Joe Veleno – 11 Filip Zadina
15 Jakub Vrana – 24 Pius Suter – 70 Oskar Sundkvist
73 Adam Erne – 22 Mitchell Stephens – 89 Sam Gagner
65 Danny DeKeyser – 53 Moritz Seider
18 Marc Staal -17 Filip Hronek
8 Jake Walman – 28 Gustav Lindstrom
29 Thomas Greiss
39 Alex Nedeljkovic
The Red Wings signed goalie Magnus Hellberg to a one-year contract on Wednesday. Hellberg played three games for the Rangers over two seasons from 2015 to 2017 and has been in the KHL since then. He shared goaltending duties with Igor Shesterkin for a few seasons with St. Petersburg SKA.
How to watch and the live conversation
The game is an early one, starting at 12:30pm. The telecast will be on the MSG Network with the live stream on ESPN+.
Blue Line Station’s live conversation is active and you can join in and talk about the game with your fellow Ranger fans in the comments section below.